<

THE FORUM

Forum»Daily Discussion»The Low Point in a light-hearted animated comedy pilot - Getting "too real" too soon?
The Low Point in a light-hearted animated comedy pilot - Getting "too real" too soon?

Hello! First-time poster and newbie screenwriter!

So I just completed a rough outline of my animated TV pilot by following the ISA "Sequence Breakdown" method. 

I have my series logline:
Nestled inside a high school for geniuses, the Genie Club vows to fulfill any student's wish - no matter how extravagant, silly, or improbable - personally guaranteed by the club founder: an ordinary 14-year-old girl enrolled at the school by mistake.

I have my main character's emotional flaw:
She's an overzealous people-pleaser who cares about everything and everyone too much out of fear of not mattering to anyone in her life.

I have my recurring moment:
The main character and the Genie Club fulfill a student's wish every episode. The wish is usually something weird and wacky ("I want a birthday party for my pet fish!"), the Club finds a way to escalate things out of control, hilarity ensues, etc.

I've essentially done everything prescribed by each lesson in the 30 Day Challenge. 

However, when bringing out my main character's emotional flaw (desperately needing to matter to people), throwing as much obstacles in front of her as possible, and finally bringing her down to a devastating low-point...I find myself completely shifting the tone of the episode from light-hearted comedy to downright drama. And that's not what I want out of my pilot.

Yes, I want real substance, character development, and drama in the show, but I'd like to save it for the second half of the season.

The tone I want the pilot to communicate is: This is a fun, wacky animated comedy with a cast of colorful characters, yet there's a beating heart to it. There's a sweetness to it. It's a feel-good show.

Yet, I find that I'm making my main character's life "too" difficult, "too" harsh, and that my Low Point is just plain depressing. Essentially, all her failures during the episode culminate in a disaster, and she has a crisis of "I don't belong here. I'm an idiot. No one needs me." And I, as the writer, have to figure out a way to pull her out of that crisis, so that the audience can say "What a fun show! I'd like to see more!"

Also, when I think about other animated comedy pilots - Gravity Falls, Rick and Morty, etc. - the Low Point isn't actually that low. In the Ouran High School Host Club pilot, the low point is when the main character has her belongings thrown into a fountain by a bully, and she's mildly annoyed about it. Nothing disastrous.

So, I'm wondering if any other comedy writers have that same issue. How low do you actually go without completely changing the tone and genre of your story? Yes, our job is to make the character's life as hard as possible, but how do you do that without making things too depressing?

I've outlined a completely alternate pilot episode for this same series using Pixar's method of outlining: 

("Once there was ____.
And every day ____.
Until one day ____.

And because of that ____.
And because of that ____.
And because of that ____.

Until finally ____.
And since that day ___.")

This method doesn't necessarily involve "low points" and it frees me from getting too harsh on my main character for what's supposed to be a fun pilot. However, it's got its own problems.

So, long story short, I could either stick with my first pilot and try to fix the serious tonal issue at the Low Point. Or I can start from scratch and figure out a new pilot.

I know that's a lot of information, but any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you so much for your time and help!


 

Comment (0) Login to Reply privately Login to Report abuse

To add a comment, please, log in first.

Login